Chicago Bears (2-5 SU, 3-4 ATS) vs. San Diego Chargers (2-6 SU, 3-5 ATS)
NFL Week 9
Date/Time: Monday Night Football, November 9, 2015 at 8:30PM EST
Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California
by Scott, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: CHI +4/SD -4
Over/Under Total: 49.5
The Chicago Bears come out to Qualcomm Stadium to face the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football. Those who scheduled this were certainly hoping for better than a combined 4-11 record, as both teams have under-achieved in 2015. The Chargers sit at a depressing 2-6 after losing their 4th in a row to the 1-win Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, 29-26. The Bears lost to the Vikings at home, 23-20. It was their first game off the bye and a painful home loss.
On Sunday, we saw some typical things out of the Chargers and most of them were bad. For them to be sitting at 2-6 at their midway point is truly disastrous for a team that actually had high hopes entering 2015. Its hard to identify a team that gets less out of what they have than the Chargers, a perennially-underachieving unit if there ever was one. But in their defense, there arent many teams that can soldier on unaffected with the number of injuries the Chargers have endured. Just as it appeared that they could get healthy again, we saw innumerable bodies down on the field in Baltimore on Sunday. Youd think this offensive line did something bad in a prior life with the luck theyve gotten, as key members of the front keep getting pelted mercilessly by the injury bug. On Sunday, an already-battered Chargers squad saw injuries befall an alarming amount of players, with WR Keenan Allen (out indefinitely), TE Ladarius Green, G Orlando Franklin, C Chris Watt, T King Dunlap, LB Manti Teo, CB Brandon Flowers, DE Corey Liuget, and S Eric Weddle all listed as questionable for Mondays game.
San Diegos lone remaining asset is a passing game that is among the best in the league. Philip Rivers has done about as good a job as one can do behind an offensive line that is in a lot of trouble. He still has a deep cast of weapons aerially. Not having Allen in there indefinitely will hurt, as they connected wonderfully this season. But with Danny Woodhead, Malcom Floyd, Antonio Gates, and others, it makes it so theyre still dangerous. The O-line has also made it nearly impossible to run the ball or gauge the true worth of first-round rookie running back Melvin Gordon, who has been flummoxed for most of the season.
On defense, the prognosis isnt much rosier for the Chargers, as injuries now threaten to derail that side of the ball, as well. Injuries and inconsistent play have robbed this unit of whatever potential that they had entering the season. In allowing over 28 points per game on average, they are near the bottom of the league. They are one of the worst defenses at containing the run. And when it comes to making plays that could help the team cause, they are nearly invisible. When watching the Chargers, you can sense when things are about to go bad for them and it almost always does. They have secured just 7 turnovers and 15 sacks on the season. Its not a playmaking group and it is certainly not a clutch unit.
Chicago is also underachieving in a big way. There is no reason why an offense like this should be laboring near the bottom in the most-pertinent offensive areas. They started 0-3, before showing some fight and grit in rebounding with two straight wins, but theyve now lost two straight and need to find some good momentum again. Jay Cutler hasnt been bad behind center and he has some bonafide weapons in RB Matt Forte, WR Alshon Jeffery, TE Martellus Bennett, and a slew of talented playmakers. Forte is out indefinitely, leaving the running duties in the hands of rookie Jeremy Langford, unless the Bears make a midweek signing. This is a tough road game for the Bears, needing to cross the country for a non-conference game on a Monday night. But Jay Cutler has experience at Qualcomm, as a former member of the Broncos. Receiver Eddie Royal also returns to his old stomping grounds, though he is listed as questionable.
One thing Chicago has been getting is solid play in the secondary. So far, Kyle Fuller, Antrel Rolle, Tracy Porter, and Adrian Amos have been playing well, with opposing teams averaging just 214 yards per game through the air. That could pay off in this game. But if the Chargers were ever to run the ball, this would be a good spot, with the Chicago D getting exploited in that area this season. Like San Diego, this defense isnt making many plays, with 12 sacks and 8 turnovers on the season.
Chicago was beating Minnesota with a few minutes left in the game, 20-13, before the Vikings scored a touchdown with under 2 minutes left to tie it. They got the ball back and won it with a field goal as time ran out. In the game before that, Detroit got their first win with a FG against the Bears late in overtime. Losing two straight games by a FG is painful, but what really hurts is how the Bears cant seem to catch a break late when a game is on the line. The stars had to line up perfectly against them for them to lose those two games like that.
Neither team inspires a ton of confidence at this point. A bet on either team requires a leap of faith. Again, there are always reasons you could site for why the Chargers can cruise to an easy win and cover. But with such an underachieving vibe and now with the injury situation hitting a crisis level, its downright hard to lay 4 points on San Diego. Im taking the Bears.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Chicago Bears plus 4 points.
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